Ebbers, Drugs and Coffee

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Ebbers, Drugs and Coffee

The chief witness against ex-WorldCom CEO Bernie Ebbers took the stand recently, touching on drug use and coffee filters at the once high-flying telecom giant. What is interesting about this New York Daily News story is that Ebbers claims not to know anything about the accounting fraud yet the star witness for the government, Scott Sullivan said that Ebbers counted coffee filters and coffee bags and when the latter were in shorter supply than the former, he deduced that the employees must be taking coffee home. The point of course is he seemed pretty involved in accounting at some level.

Interestingly I ran into Ebber’s old boss a few days ago, a fellow by the name of Alan Peyser, who was the Chairman and CEO of Cable & Wireless. Al told me he knew Ebbers well and actually Ebbers worked for him at on point and he worked for Ebbers at another point. His feeling is that Ebbers is a very good person and the press is using him as a scapegoat.

Whether Ebbers is a good person or not probably won’t help him here. At stake is a 25-year prison sentence and so far it isn’t looking to good for Mr. Ebbers as Sullivan is painting him as a micromanager and more importantly has described Worldcom after hours as a cocaine and marijuana party.



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